All blood donors must meet Massachusetts General Hospital’s eligibility requirements to donate whole blood, platelets or red blood cells. Donors must complete a questionnaire, which includes health and lifestyle questions, at their blood donation appointment to determine eligibility.

Basic Requirements for Blood Donation

  • Donors must be in good health and feel well the day of their donation
  • Donors must be at least 17 years of age, or 16 with parental consent (PDF: 16-year-old parental consent form)
  • Donors must weigh at least 100 lbs (110 lbs if donating blood on one of our mobile units or if donating platelets) and no more than 350 lbs
  • Donors must show a photo ID

Donation Frequency

  • Whole Blood: Every 56 days
  • Platelets: Every 7 days
  • Double Red Cells: Every 112 days

Health Conditions

  • Antibiotics: Donors are deferred for 24 hours after their final dose.
  • Cancer: Donors with a history of most types of cancer are eligible to donate 1 year from the date of their last treatment.

Exceptions

There is no deferral period for donors with a history of:

  • Basal cell carcinoma of the skin
  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin
  • Carcinoma-in-situ or Dysplasia of the cervix or breast, if treated

There is a permanent deferral for donors with a history of:

  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia

 Other Conditions

  • Colds: Donors are not eligible if they are not feeling well and healthy the day of donation.
  • Diabetes: Donors with diabetes (type I or II) are eligible to donate.
  • Dental Work: Donors are eligible to donate following routine dental work.
  • Gonorrhea: Donor is deferred for 12 months after date of last treatment.  
  • Heart Attack: Further evaluation is needed.
  • Hepatitis/Hepatitis Exposure: Donor is deferred for 12 months after hepatitis B, or hepatitis C exposure.
  • High Blood Pressure: Donors with high blood pressure are eligible to donate if their blood pressure is controlled with medication.
  • Pregnant: Donors who are pregnant or less than six weeks postpartum are not eligible to donate.
  • Stitches: Donors are not eligible while stitches/sutures are still in.
  • Syphilis: Donor is deferred for 12 months after date of last treatment. 
  • Transfusion: Donor is deferred for 12 months after a transfusion of blood or blood components.
  • Transplant: Donor is deferred for 12 months after an organ transplant.

HIV/AIDS

Individuals who have had a positive test for HIV/AIDS or who have been at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS are permanently deferred from blood donation.

The following risk factors require a permanent deferral:

  • Have any signs or symptoms of AIDS such as: fevers, night sweats, unexplained weight loss, cough, diarrhea, swollen glands, white spots in the mouth, or purple or blue bumps on the skin
  • Use of nonprescription drugs or steroids by needle, even once
  • Have taken drugs or money for sex ever

The following risk factors require a 12-month deferral from the date of occurrence:

  • Have had sex, even once, with someone who has taken money or drugs in exchange for sex
  • Accidental needle stick
  • Male who has had sex with another male
  • Have had sexual contact in the past 12 months with anyone described above

Travel

  • Malarial-Endemic Areas: Donor is deferred for 12 months after travel to a malarial-endemic area.
  • United Kingdom: Donor is permanently deferred for travel/residence of 3 months or more in the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, The Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, or Falkland Islands) from 1980-1996.
  • Europe: Donor is permanently deferred for travel/residence of 5 years or more in Europe since 1980. There are some exceptions regarding military bases.
  • For questions regarding travel, please contact the Blood Donor Center.

Other Lifestyle Factors

  • Ear/Body Piercing: Donor is eligible if piercing was performed using sterile single-use equipment.
  • Tattoos: Donor is deferred for 12 months after getting a tattoo 

Platelet Donation Eligibility Guidelines

In addition to the eligibility guidelines for blood donations, platelet donors must:

  • Weigh at least 110 lbs
  • Avoid aspirin and aspirin-containing products for 48 hours prior to platelet donation

Double Red Blood Cell Donation Eligibility Guidelines:

In addition to the eligibility guidelines for blood donations, double red blood cell donors must meet specific height and weight requirements:

For additional questions or clarification, please contact us at 617-726-8177.